Kathleen Greene, Director of University Student Services, announces her retirement and reflects on her career

Kathleen Greene is retiring after 41 years as Kansas State University Student Services Director. (Elizabeth Sandstrom | College Media Group)

After 41 years at Kansas State, Director of University Student Services Kathleen Greene has announced her retirement. Greene’s career spanned many departments and positions, from teaching to advising to working as an advisor in the athletics department. However, she found her calling in working with students while leading three of K-State’s TRIO programs: Educational Support Services, the McNair Scholars Program, and Student Support Services at K-State Salina.

“It’s hard to put its impact into words,” said Stephanie Bannister, associate vice provost for student success. “I mean, 41 years of service, countless successful grant competitions, but more than that, she’s just a gentle giant of goodness. Generations of students have been touched by his willingness to meet them where they are, to be open, to serve as a link and reference to colleagues across campus. She’s just incredibly well-known and respected.

TRIO Educational Supportive Services is a federally funded program that provides support to first-generation, limited-income, or students with documented disabilities.

“They didn’t have TRIO programs while I was in college,” Greene said. ” I fought. We had a support group, so we tutored each other. We met in study groups, that’s the form of tutoring we had.

Raised in Queens, New York, Greene attended the University of Ottawa after colleges from the Midwest visited her high school looking for students. As a first-generation college student herself, Greene said she’s always enjoyed helping people find their voice.

“I found my calling in working with students who have challenges, be it their socio-economic challenges, to help them with their education,” Greene said. “I just like helping people succeed. Especially with [my] a first-generation background and limited income had a lot to do with it.

Bannister said Greene has shown a strong commitment to students through his dedication to grant writing.

“I think it’s important to know that these grants technically can’t be written during work time,” Bannister said. “The staff who write these grants go above and beyond to secure this funding. It’s just a federal regulation that you can’t use grant funds to get additional funds.

Greene’s scholarship has earned K-State more than $20 million, according to K-State Today.

“If you think about the McNair Scholars and their mission — I mean, she’s the one who brought this program here,” Bannister said. “She’s the reason we have a program designed to encourage students to pursue higher education. Although undergraduate and institutional research is now a top priority, it was Kathy Greene 27 years ago who laid this truly incredible foundation.

Greene’s hard work has earned him a long list of accolades, including induction into the MO-KANE-NE Hall of Fame, the Commerce Bank Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Outstanding Service to Students of minorities and the university’s first Inclusive Excellence winner, but said she is most proud of her impact on students.

“I’m proud to see my students succeed,” Greene said. “Some of them go on to have a very good life. Some of them got their doctorates. Some of them are executive directors.

Greene said she plans to spend time with her family, travel and visit museums during her retirement.

“I feel blessed because I’ve had such a rewarding career,” Greene said. “If I was in another career, I would have retired ten years ago. I’ve been blessed, I’m happy, I look forward to a fulfilling retirement.

Bannister said he would miss Greene’s warm and inviting presence.

“It’s hard when you plant seeds to fully know what that yield will be, but I can say with 100% confidence that she had a generational impact that goes far beyond State University. Kansas,” Bannister said. “We are delighted for her, but her spirit will be missed.”

The Greene TRIO Excellence Fund was established in Greene’s honor to continue to support students and grow the foundation that Greene built in ways that a grant cannot support financially.

“Sometimes you just do the work, you get paid, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Green said. “And then people come to thank me, it’s gratifying.”